My Day So Far: Post-holiday catch up: thank you notes, bill paying, grocery shopping (!), brunch with daughter at local bagel shop.
Naptime Goals: Make Artichoke Lasagna, take down Christmas decorations, catch up on after vacation pile o’ mail.
Tonight’s Meal: Artichoke Lasagna – we’ll have it for tomorrow night, too!
Parenting Lesson of the Day: Parents who say they never bribe their children are lying.
January 2nd is one of my least favorite days of the year. It indicates the end of the holiday season, the beginning of yet another cold northeastern winter, and requires that I snap out of holiday mode and get back to the daily grind. In short, on this particular day I find that there is very little to look forward to and lots of work to be done.
This year the start of the month proved to be no different on the work front, the only problem I had was figuring out where to begin. After a fun-filled ten days in Cooperstown I’d all but forgotten about my responsibilities here in New York. Upon returning we were faced with towering stacks of unpaid bills, a rather dusty apartment and bunches of stale-looking Christmas decorations. I have to say, the whole scene was rather forlorn, a feeling only furthered by a glance at the sad empty shelves in our fridge. Christmas baking was over and New Year’s entertaining complete, leaving me with two yogurts, a stick of butter and one small bag of fingerling potatoes. With no hope of utilizing these ingredients to assemble any kind of ad-hoc dinner, I quickly decided to commence my chores with the inevitable post-holiday large scale grocery shopping.
I am not above bribery when I need my daughter to be on her best behavior at the grocery store. There are plenty of occasions, like the one just this week, when I happily hand her a box of chocolate milk and cruise the aisles enjoying a kind of peace only brought on by typically verboten treats. In this instance her enjoyment of chocolate milk and pretzels allowed me to gather the ingredients for a week’s worth of meals including one of our favorite’s, Artichoke Lasagna.
Since I needed to buy myself some free time during naptime the following day for baking I decided to make this dish because it will last for at least two dinners. We also happen to love this particular lasagna because it showcases one of the best vegetables on the planet (according to me, at least) – artichokes! I first tasted it when my friend Barbara made it for me a few years ago. I was instantly smitten with it’s simple creamy white sauce, hint of salty parmesan, and buttery artichokes layered between thin noodles.
Barbara explained her variation was inspired by the Marcella Hazan recipe of the same name. However, Hazan’s recipe calls for endless sheets of homemade pasta, hand-trimmed artichokes and many many layers. While we both love the idea of these handmade ingredients, we generally agree that neither of us have the time to conquer all of these steps in the midst of busy family life. Instead we’ve developed a recipe that mimics the flavor of Hazan’s with simpler instructions for assembly.
I could write forever and ever about this deliciously simple lasagna, but I’ve made a video instead. I hope you enjoy it and see just how easy it is to make during the day or evening. I guarantee your family will love it. Happy New Year!
Creamy Artichoke Lasagna
a recipe developed by Barbara and Kelsey, inspired by Marcella Hazan
|18 oz.||frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and cut into bite size pieces|
|8 T.||all-purpose flour|
|4 c.||whole milk|
|1 c.||freshly grated parmesan|
|1||box no-boil Lasagna noodles (at least 12 noodles)|
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly butter a 9×13 deep baking dish and set aside.
2. In a saute pan over medium heat melt 2 T. butter and add the bite size artichoke hearts. Saute the artichoke hearts in the butter for about 4 minutes until they are tender and the butter is all absorbed. Turn off heat.
3. In a deep saucepan melt the 8 T. butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is totally melted add the flour and whisk constantly for 4-5 minutes to make sure the flour is cooked. Be sure to keep whisking so that the butter and flour don’t burn. Then, slowly whisk in the milk, continually whisking to make sure the butter/flour mixture gets evenly incorporated. Keep stirring the white sauce over medium heat until it thickens. About 5 minutes. Then, add a few pinches of Kosher salt and freshly ground black better to taste. Once the sauce as thickened to the consistency of a thin pudding, remove from heat.
4. Begin assembling the lasagna by spreading a thin layer of white sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then line up four noodles on top of it, it’s alright if the noodles overlap slightly. Cover the noodles with another layer of white sauce. Then, top it with half of the saute artichoke hearts. Scatter ½ c. of the parmesan over the artichokes and top with a second layer of noodles. Repeat layering with the sauce, artichokes and parmesan cheese. Top with a third layer of noodles. At this point, cover the remaining sauce and cover the top noodles completely. Then scatter a pinch or two of parmesan top if any remains.
5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the sauce is bubble and lightly golden on top.
Naptime Recipe Serving ideas
This lasagna is great to make-ahead and bake later in the day. As you see here, I bake it in the afternoon and re-heat it in the evening. You could also assemble the lasagna up to a day ahead and bake it right before dinner time. Either way, it won’t go bad sitting in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.
Assembling this takes about 35 minutes. The payoffs are enormous – taking the time to make this lasagna means you have dinner for two nights!
My daughter isn’t too keen on the artichoke hearts yet, but loves the noodles with white sauce. My husband and I love this for dinner, especially paired with a bright green salad.